Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bookstore Blogging: How to Get It Done

Do you read blogs from bookstores? As a new bookseller I'm interested in getting to know what you like or don't like about blogs written by booksellers on behalf of their stores. I confess I don't read that many; once in a while I read the Green Apple Core, a blog from the wonderful Green Apple Books in San Francisco. I visited the Green Apple when I was in San Francisco several years ago and started reading their blog afterward. They did a hilarious video series on the book vs. the Kindle and they always have interesting, fun articles about the book industry and the weird and wonderful books they stock. I've read the Porter Square Book Store blog off and on (and now that's where I work, so I'll be reading it more consistently!) and some library blogs.


What do you look for in a bookstore blog? Do you want to interact with the booksellers? Do you want a convenient way to find out about events? Do you want to see staff picks or new arrivals? What holds your attention? Or if you don't read them, why not? What have you seen on a bookstore blog that you don't like?

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Twitter chat on the subject of bookstore blogs and the consensus from booksellers seemed to be that their customers want to know about events and want a blog that transmits the personality of the store while offering customers content they're interested in. Sounds simple, but how do you get it done, and how do you evaluate results?

As a bookstore customer, I like engagement and unique content; I don't want to read the same promotional blurbs I'm seeing everywhere else. I want to hear about idiosyncratic arrivals, selections that make that particular bookstore unique, and I want to interact with the blog. From a customer perspective, I think it's nice when the comments are posted quickly so I can see my comment on the blog and if the blogger wants to respond in the comments, great. I don't want to talk into a void!

 

If you're a bookseller, how do you view store blogs? Does your store have one? How do you delegate or divide up the workload? Writing a blog is a lot of work; you have to come up with ideas, come up with a schedule, write the posts, respond to comments, and keep it going over time. When you also have to wait on customers, stock shelves and do all the things you have to do to run or work in a store, blogging may be the last thing you have time for.

I'm fascinated to learn more about blogging for a bookstore and I hope you'll share your thoughts and experiences, whether you sell books or buy them!

9 comments:

Tasha B. said...

I didn't know you're selling books now! That sounds interesting and fun. The only bookstore blog I follow is Tattered Cover's, which iirc is called Between the Covers. They have recommendations from employees and highlight new releases that they're excited about. I think I look for the same thing with bookstore blogs that I do with any other blog: good writing, good information.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I only follow Mr. Micawbers Enters the Internets, from a little shop up in Minneapolis who is a friend of my sisters. They have a great little blog, and I have gotten many recommendations from them. I guess my biggest issues is that I just don't know about many indie bookstores. We have none in Orlando. I'd love to add to my list.

bermudaonion said...

I can't think of any bookstore blogs I read. My local indie doesn't have a blog that I'm aware of.

Alexia561 said...

I wasn't even aware that the smaller bookstores had blogs, and have to admit that I don't even check the BN.com blog much anymore. The one thing I really liked about the BN.com blog was the bookseller recommendations, as they were usually spot on.

Ryan said...

I would love to follow a bookstore's blog but since the closest bookstore to me is three hours away by train it would be a painful reminder of my predicament.

Well-Read Reviews said...

I don't tend to read bookstore blogs, but then again, I wasn't aware there were any. When I think of the concept, though, I tend to think that it won't be as interactive as a personal blog would be so it would make me a bit hesitant to visit one often.

I think, though, if a bookseller was personal (without being too revealing about their own personal matters), and really listened to what their viewers wanted.. and sort of created an environment for conversation, then I would be more likely to read a bookselling blog.

Allison at Well-Read Reviews

Zibilee said...

If there were a chat link to talk to a store employee about finding the right book, asking if something were in stock, or just recommending a book to fit a reader's tastes, I would be all over that! These are some interesting things to think about. I will come by and post more if I think of anything else!

Audra said...

I tend to avoid bookstore blogs -- I only care about the ones local to me but too often it just feels like posts about the same books I'm seeing everywhere. I'll be sure to pay more attention to the PSqB blog now, though! Personally, I like the blogs that share the bookstore's events and lift up local authors/local books especially.

Amy said...

The only bookstore blogs that I follow are purely for events and what's new type news, not reviews... but I only follow a small number, so not sure I'm a good person to ask :)